Mavenlink is here - put the .mpp down and slowly back away!!
Updated April 22, 2016

Mavenlink is here - put the .mpp down and slowly back away!!

Micquella Anthony | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Mavenlink

The whole organization uses Mavenlink for time tracking, project management, and resource management (last two are primarily used by PM/AM, traffic managers, and senior managers).

Before Mavenlink, we had no easy way of comparing our scheduled project time to actual time - our resource schedules were completely disconnected from all of our project plans. This meant all reporting calculations were done in Excel reports. Now, we have much more powerful reporting capabilities.
  • Reporting: Mavenlink has extensive reporting capabilities that fulfill almost all of our needs. We used Analytics for basic, daily reporting, and we use Insights for a "deeper dive". When we need something different from what Insights provides out-of-the-box, we can build custom reports & dashboards.
  • Resource planning: Mavenlink far surpassed all other tools when we looked for their attention to resource planning capabilities. Managers are very happy with the ease of use and flexibility when looking to see their reports' schedules.
  • Customer service: the support we've gotten from all levels of the Mavenlink team is outstanding, whether it's getting questions answered, hearing suggestions for features, providing training, or giving process input.
  • Finer points of building a project plan: Mavenlink has a solid foundation for project plans - creating and assigning tasks/dates/metadata is pretty simple. Unfortunately, the Task Tracker and Gantt views don't have all the same functionality or show the same information, so we have to use some workarounds or work specifically in one view to keep all the timelines accurate. Since our implementation, Mavenlink has released a number of improvements in this area, and I'm told there are more to come.
  • Time tracking: A basic timesheet is available, but some of our staff have qualms with the usability of the timer and the experience of entering their time. Mavenlink was receptive to our feedback, and they're planning on addressing the issues in a future release.
  • Our Traffic Managers can spend more time on capacity planning, facilitating resource resolution, and process improvements vs. prepping all the filtered resourcing information our PMs and managers need to review.
  • Workfront (AtTask at the time) didn't have anywhere near the same resource planning usability or functionality. They were significantly more expensive without some of the key features we needed.
  • Microsoft Project has a much more familiar editing interface, but we were limited with the licenses that would let everyone open an .mpp. We also didn't have the support for the shared server that might have allowed that and joined our resource and project planning - even when we looked at this though, overall it didn't seem as user-friendly.
Mavenlink is a great option if you have complex reporting needs or an immature resource planning tool.

In our case, the team that researched tools and managed the Mavenlink rollout also became the resident Mavenlink power-users. Having some "go-to's" on staff was important for my company's acceptance of the organizational change - this isn't Mavenlink-specific, but an important consideration nonetheless.

Mavenlink Feature Ratings

Task Management
8
Resource Management
8
Gantt Charts
9
Scheduling
8
Team Collaboration
8
Document Management
7
Email integration
8
Mobile Access
8
Timesheet Tracking
7
Change request and Case Management
7
Budget and Expense Management
7
Invoicing
Not Rated
Project & financial reporting
9
Integration with accounting software
Not Rated

Using Mavenlink

150 - 
  • Project Management, Traffic Management,Time Tracking, Reporting
2 - People intimately familiar with your company's processes should manage the implementation and support the product post-rollout. Critical thinking, change management, and training skills would also be useful.
  • I need to report on my project team's hours burn
  • I need to see what projects my direct reports are working on
  • I need to track my time
  • Tracking internal department budgets
  • Building extensive custom reports with Insights
  • Tracking custom project metadata
  • Creating estimation assets within Mavenlink
  • Automatically updating a sprint's % complete based on JIRA tickets' completion
We are hooked on Mavenlink resource planning and the attention being paid to its integration in the full project lifecycle! We love the Mavenlink team support!

Evaluating Mavenlink and Competitors

Yes - 
  • We replaced Microsoft Project because our project managers' project plans weren't easily connected to our resource planning.
  • We replaced Harvest for time tracking because comparing our scheduled to actual time was critical for gaining project insight.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Positive Sales Experience with the Vendor
Mavenlink's product features were critical for solving our business problems with resource planning.
I would have put extra juice behind creating a close-to-life experience for our pilot testers. We got a lot of good feedback before contracting, but our sample was small & didn't account for users tracking time to multiple projects with a lot of context-switching.

Mavenlink Implementation

Dedicate as much internal time to the implementation effort as possible, even if you're using a 3rd party or Mavenlink services. Your team knows your processes the best!
Yes - 
  1. We rolled out resource planning first, to get all managers, PMs, and AMs used to the interface. This is where we had the biggest usability issues in our old system, and it only required 1 main admin (Traffic Manager), so it was relatively painless to rollout.
  2. A month later, we introduced project planning to Project Managers and coordinated the transition of all new projects being started in Mavenlink.
  3. A month later, we rolled out time tracking to the entire staff.
Change management was a big part of the implementation and was well-handled - 
  • For any pilot users or process planning, account for the average workload and # of projects that different roles might have.
  • You can't really have too much good documentation, as long as it's well-organized and easy to find.
  • Staff being upset that Mavenlink didn't let you restart the timer (adding time to the time already logged) on an saved time entry.
  • We didn't make it clear that Master Planning was permanently editable by all Reports Viewers. People thought that they were changing was only for their account or would be able to be "cancelled" before it was saved.

Mavenlink Training

  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
We prepared questions in advance, and our trainer was an expert in what Mavenlink was and wasn't able to do. We were able to have multiple people trained at once.
The training was very well-organized. We were able to send questions in advance so the instructor knew what to cover, and the brought up related topics to maximize the usefulness of what they were teaching us.
If you are a power user of other tools, picking up Mavenlink will not be an issue. I would recommend the approach to others if they're going to have some dedicated time to experiment with Mavenlink - uninterrupted chunks of time is best to gain familiarity and note questions as you go.

Configuring Mavenlink

There's a lot that Mavenlink doesn't do out-of-the-box that we've been able to get it to do with creative solutions. The basic configuration is very simple, and there are some features that Mavenlink gives the option to turn on/off given your process needs. An important configuration for us was being able to require that staff select both a project & a task when logging time.
  • Identify your user groups and map the most needed permissions to those existing in Mavenlink.
  • Identify any integrations you'll want set up. If you have internal development resources, book some of their time for any integrations that might need to use Mavenlink's open API.
  • Identify & document your end-to-end project lifecycle, include process steps and responsibilities for various roles along the way. This will let you map any necessary functionality to Mavenlink.
Some - we have done small customizations to the interface - We set up custom company branding - it's very simple & easy to do.
No - we have not done any custom code
We are using Zapier to automate task creation in Mavenlink projects when issues are opened in the related JIRA projects.

Mavenlink Support

The Mavenlink team is very responsive to our feedback and bug reports. We've built a reputation as conscientious reporters, which I think is appreciated.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
No - We get everything that we need from Mavenlink with the support level we pay for.
Yes - Yes, 100%.
When one of our developers reported a high-priority bug with Time Entries, I opened an issue with our Account Manager. She wasn't immediately able to recreate it, so she set up a screenshare to take a video capture of what I was experiencing. She sent the bug & video to engineering. She happened to be out of the office in the following days, but she made sure that someone else from Mavenlink would contact me when the bug was fixed in production a few days later. I was very pleased with the response time & coordination on our behalf!

Using Mavenlink

Overall, the Mavenlink interface is intuitive and easy-to-use. There are some features that require multiple clicks or click then key stroke - e.g., a lot of our staff ask about keyboard shortcuts and usability improvements for timesheets.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • Seeing what staff is available in a given time period
  • Seeing the entire project timeline in the Gantt chart
  • Creating project templates for quick reuse
  • Accounting for staff vacations when scheduling work
  • Quickly updating dates & statuses in project plans

Mavenlink Reliability

It's very easy to add users and contractors into Mavenlink. There's also an option that let's you manage access for teams in multiple locations.
Mavenlink gives advance notice for system upgrades, and they're not during our business day. Mavenlink has always been available when we needed it.
There were less than a handful of times where we saw any issues with Mavenlink performance. Pages load quickly. Sometimes a search seems to take more than few seconds, but it's never been a huge deal.

Integrating Mavenlink

The open API gave us everything we needed when we were migrating historic hours from Harvest to Mavenlink.
We used Zapier (free 3rd-party service) to have tickets that get opened in JIRA also get created in Mavenlink so that users could track time to them. Mavenlink has a custom JIRA integration that you can pay for, but so far we've decided not to use it.
  • Pipedrive
I don't think the vendors plan to support the integration, other than Mavenlink providing an open API. We're not sure if we really need to integrate with Pipedrive, but it's a future consideration.
  • File import/export
  • Single Signon
  • API (e.g. SOAP or REST)
I'm not sure what Zapier qualifies as, but that's a 3rd party we've leaned on for integration.
If you have access to internal developers, book some of their time so that they can research and build integration with the open API.

Relationship with Mavenlink

Mavenlink responded to our requirements and worked with our team well. They didn't get too pushy or constantly ask to have meetings with our superiors.
Mavenlink has been wonderful to work with - we've built a mutual respect because of our attention to detail and willingness to give insight into our process reasoning.
We were able to negotiate feature adds, depending on whether they were aligned with their product roadmap.
Consider that your process needs may not be the same as other clients - it's useful to ask Mavenlink how other clients might have solved similar problems to yours.